Taipei, March 3, 2012 – Greenpeace flew its famous hot air balloon over Taipei for the first time to urge the Taiwanese Fisheries Agency and other Asian fishing powers to protect the Pacific and its valuable tuna populations in the upcoming Western and
Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting in Guam later this month.
"The hot air balloon is here in Taiwan to tell people of the urgent need for changes in the way we manage Pacific fisheries at this year's Pacific tuna commission meeting in Guam. Greenpeace is urging Taiwan's Fisheries Agency and other commission attendees to defend our oceans, not the narrow fishing industry interests and support true conservation," said Yen Ning, oceans campaigner from Greenpeace East Asia.
This WCPFC meeting will revisit oceans conservation measures put in place in 2008 that were meant to rescue the region's declining bigeye tuna stocks. Scientists are calling for more far -reaching action to reverse the decline, which is why Greenpeace is demanding the Guam meeting expand the current fishing bans in place in the area known as the Pacific Commons. Many fishing powers are working to unravel these measures.
Roughly 60% of the world's tuna comes from the Western and Central Pacific. Due to overfishing, three of four major tuna species that live in those waters are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s red list as "threatened."
"Greenpeace is demanding that fishing powers to follow the lead of the Pacific island nations and protect the Pacific Commons, ban destructive Fish Aggregation Devices in purse seine fisheries and reduce tuna fishing efforts by 50%. These urgently needed changes will help secure a future for the millions of people dependent on Pacific tuna for food and jobs," added Yen Ning.
The hot air balloon activity marked the beginning of a series of Greenpeace oceans events in March across the region. The organization's ship MV Esperanza will arrive in Kaohsiung harbor on the 23rd of March, just three days before the opening of this year's WCPFC meeting. The Esperanza earlier this week exposed the abuse of Indian fishing license schemes by Taiwanese longline vessels in the Indian Ocean and late last year busted illegal shark fishing by a Taiwanese fishing vessel in a Palauan shark sanctuary.
"Taiwan has one of the largest and least regulated fishing fleets in the world, with fishing regulation violations and slaughter of endangered species happening too often onboard Taiwanese vessels. It is time Taiwan shows global leadership and protects the Pacific Commons once and for all, for the benefit of everyone," said Yen Ning.
Globally, Greenpeace is campaigning for a network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world's oceans and for a more sustainable fishing industry, both necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health.
Renee Chou, communications officer, Greenpeace East Asia (based in Taipei).
Yen Ning, oceans campaigner, Greenpeace East Asia (based in Taipei).
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